Campaign Launch on Tuesday Lunchtime

Campaign Launch on Tuesday Lunchtime

Following hundreds of offers of support, Micheline is calling a meeting this Tuesday lunchtime to launch a campaign in NUI Galway. She and her supporters want to ensure the university management put right the injustices towards her five female colleagues who, along with her, were not promoted in 2009 and force them to finally publically accept that the subsequent 2014 round of promotions, was again clearly discriminatory.

“I am overwhelmed with the avalanche of good wishes I have received. Until the injustices of previous promotions are redressed, the university cannot set about reform for the future. I also want to use the momentum that my case has created to make sure that reform actually changes things for women” – Dr. Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington.

Since so far the university has so far stubbornly dug in its heels and refused to recognize that Micheline’s case affects anyone else, the aim now is to keep up the pressure and to use the positive publicity generated by the desire for change to embarrass the university into seeing the error of its ways and recognise that there is no choice but to correct the terrible gender imbalance in senior posts.

The meeting is sponsored by the University’s Feminist Society which has now collected the endorsement of 25 other student societies for the new campaign. In addition the Equality Officer of the Students’ Union is proposing at the next council meeting a motion that the Students’ Union also support the campaign.

The University societies which have so far endorsed the campaign are: Med Soc, ShoutOut, Mature Students Soc, Orchestra Soc, Zoo Soc, ISS, Chess Soc, GOAL Soc, Bike Soc, Biz Soc, GIG Soc, Baking Soc, YFG, DanSoc, Lit and Deb, Rover Soc, Philosophy Soc, Humanist Atheist Soc, India Soc, An Cumannn Gaelach, Irish Studies Soc, Choral Soc, Math Soc, Vic Soc, Best Buddies.

Michleine has reworked her three conditions for this campaign which are shown in the post below or here

Facebook event page


9 thoughts on “Campaign Launch on Tuesday Lunchtime

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Campaign Launch on Tuesday Lunchtime

    1. pmacme Post author

      Thanks a lot for the feedback and its been taken on board, maybe some of the wording originally reflected the frustration that is felt by the vast majority of staff and students at a university that continues to represent itself as being from a generation where institutions rule from the top and according to the interests of its senior management alone. The motivation of this campaign is to force the university to move out of the dark ages and begin to represent those who are actually its life blood, the students and staff. After tens of thousands of euro spent on cases where the university has sought to silence those who have stood up for equality, the college body are no longer satisfied to sit back and wait for change to happen, to wait for a voice to be given to us. Similarly, while the universities language of press releases will be carefully calculated, ours will be real and relate to the emotion that we feel as we pursue this ideal. We want the language to reflect our intention to not give up, under any circumstances, until this fight is won.


      1. bealoideas

        I have no doubt it is made in good faith and it represents good intentions. My concern is that either not all details have been presented or it is misguided. In the media reports the five teacher’s only basis for promotion was their superior experience. Personally I don’t think experience is enough to get promotion. What matters is research prowess and teaching ability. In a meritocracy experience doesn’t cut it. Now by all means those five lecturers may have the best research and teaching success and deserve promotion but no where has that point been made. It


  2. orl

    @bealoideas if you read the full decision you will see the Equality Officer found that Roisin Healy had brilliant experience, research and references and she came 26th out of 30!


  3. pmacme Post author

    Well perhaps if your understanding of the campaign is only through the media, there may be some facts that you are missing. I would refer you to information that is available in other parts of this website in relation to the five women’s case. But here is a basic layout of some of the facts as we have them.

    – The promotions round where the Equality Tribunal fround that Dr. Sheehy Skeffington had been discriminated against was 2009, the university’s Academic Council recognised that the 2009 round of promotions, where only one woman was promoted against 16 men, were questionable.

    If I accept as a starting point your assertion that in a “meritocracy” certain individuals will simply not “cut it”, then in a promotion round where 1 woman is promoted against 16 men and in a university where only 13% of professors are women despite making up half of the teaching staff, then it would seem that women are just significantly statistically less likely to have the necessary merit to hold a senior post?
    Certainly if all of the universities appointments are made on merit then that must be the case?
    Women are just less likely to be good enough.

    Maybe those women lack the ‘prowess’ to stalk research money and take big corporations in for the kill, which does seem to be the university’s sole interest these days. Perhaps the men who were promoted were better at that, or perhaps men are just better due to their inherent ‘prowess’. Maybe that would explain why one man who was promoted did not even meet the university’s own basic criteria for promotion while all 5 of these women were deemed eligible.

    I have no doubt that this is closer to the belief held by the university management rather than simply wanting to favor men, they are simply picking candidates with more ‘merit’ as they see it, and by some weird coincidence they just happen to be mostly men.

    Only those who delude themselves with the language of bureaucracy which implies and proclaims its own inherent objectivity could fail to see that they have been influenced, they are influenced, are seen to be influenced and are shown to be influenced statistically, either consciously or sub consciously by a bias that is beyond merit.

    If this is not the case, then the reason that NUI Galway has the second highest glass ceiling index in Europe (after Malta) must be because the women lecturers at NUI Galway simply don’t cut it.

    In the 2009 promotions the university did recognise that something must have gone wrong and set up a ‘review’ to look into how to address what is seemed to acknowledge as blatant discrimination against women in promotions to senior posts. After the Equality Tribunal found in late 2014 that Micheline had been discriminated against in 2009, the University President accepted the finding unreservedly which called the entire promotions procedure ‘ramshackle’.

    And yet these women remain unpromoted.

    So if there is some misguided or we have been misinformed about any of these procedures and you hold more information, then please let us know and we will correct any factual errors


  4. bealoideas

    “Maybe those women lack the ‘prowess’ to stalk research money and take big corporations in for the kill, which does seem to be the university’s sole interest these days”
    Largely yes as research is a product of excellence, ambition and successful risk taking. I really am fond of botany but its not a cutting age field any more. Expect promotions in fields where the big advances will arrive genomics, physicis and engineering. Only one of the five fall in such categories. There are many valid reasons why women have not made the cut. Perhaps they same reason there are far less women in prison.

    There is no right to be promoted. The basic lecturer salary is more than liveable and exceeds professor salaries in may peer countries. Therefore there never will be enough senior positions for those who want them. I had a look at the promotion criteria and yes they could be improved and made far more consistent. No weight should be give to how many students one supervised or their contact hours. Research excellence, grants and evidence of quality in teaching should be essentially the sole criteria.


    1. pmacme Post author

      I would like to thank you deeply for this comment
      You could not have more succinctly summed up and layed out all of the views and prejudices that this campaign is fighting against
      It is so perfect that I almost wonder if you are a feminist parodying what you imagine the head of the university might say
      Inherent in your comment is the following assumptions
      * That women inherently lack the most important characteristics of “excellence, ambition and successful risk taking”
      * Only fields traditionally male dominated are of any importance or value to society
      * Only research money is of any importance in universities (forgive us deluded souls that thought universities were about students, and that there was more to life than having the biggest building – out of interest, are you an engineer?:)
      Going as far as recommending that engagement with students not even be considered when promoting was truly a beautiful statement
      * and perhaps the Pièce de résistance, that you yourself equate the necessary characteristics for success as the same for ending up in prison

      I myself had wondered if it could be true that there were men that still believed all of the above, so thank you for clearing that up for me.
      Assuming as I do, that you believe all of these statements to be right and just, I wonder if you would mind attributing your name and department to them?
      If so I would be happy to quote you directly (without any comment or interpretation from me) and have what you have said on the front of the website?

      That would seem to be a fair way to let others know how fair the current promotions system is in your view and provide a counter argument to our view


      1. bealoideas

        In fairness you have not read my points correctly. I didn’t suggest engagement with students is irrelevant to promotion. I very clearly stated that teaching excellence is highly important while in contrast teaching experience is not. My views are not in the least bit controversial.

        Additionally you are genralisationing my arguments to the point that their meaning is lost. Both men and women can have the characteristics I mention but its very possible that female academics in NUI Galway have not expressed those characteristics as often as their male peers. Some people are more risk adverse then others. Due to their background, family, sex or a million other potential factors.

        By the way research money is rarely for building. Typically it is for hiring staff, postgradutes and lab facilities. Classically undergraduates are important but they are not more then research. What a university sets out to be varies hugely though. For example Carlow Institute of Technology is mainly about teaching While Caltech in the US is mainly about research.

        Its almost certainly a fact that risk aversion is why some people enter teaching and safe public sector jobs while risk takers enter jobs like setting up a business or end up in prison. Indeed one study suggests higher levels of circulating testosterone is associated with lower risk aversion among women.

        It is interesting that you assume me to be male while the whole website is supposed to be promoting a gender blind approach (which I whole heartedly support. Being gender blind is the way to go).


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